As the premium brand within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, INFINITI can call upon wide-ranging expertise in vehicle electrification from a partnership that sells more electric and hybrid cars globally than any other manufacturer. It is this partnership that makes possible the ongoing development of Formula One-inspired powertrain technology for the road.
For the Q60 Project Black S, INFINITI has drawn on technologies from the Renault Sport Formula One Team to create a new performance prototype, which benefits from the breadth of electrification experience within the Alliance.
The team behind ‘Project Black S’ is truly global, and the result of collaboration across the Alliance. The initial brief and overall management for the project – from the creation of the show car revealed at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, to today’s development prototype – was issued by INFINITI’s global headquarters in Hong Kong. The Renault Sport Formula One Team in Enstone, United Kingdom was tasked with designing the car, and worked alongside Renault Sport Racing in Viry-Châtillon, France, where INFINITI and Renault engineers developed the unique dual-hybrid technology. The Enstone team worked together with INFINITI Design London in Paddington, to implement the prototype’s motorsport-inspired aerodynamics and develop its design using lightweight materials.
INFINITI’s research and development center in Atsugi, Japan also played an important role, having developed the ‘donor’ Q60 sport coupe upon which Project Black S is based. The R&D center has assisted in the integration of the powertrain technology, advising on engineering proposals from the Renault Sport Formula One Team.
In this way, the creation of the Project Black S prototype is a true collaborative effort – overseen by François Bancon, INFINITI’s Vice President for Motorsport and Connected Vehicles. To date, Bancon has enjoyed a career spanning more than four decades, with 20 years’ prior experience at Renault, and the last two decades within Nissan and INFINITI.
INFINITI believes there is potential for a new model grade that offers progressive levels of product enhancement, above and beyond the existing Red Sport 400 specification currently available on select models. This could include higher power, torque and performance from innovative powertrains, new or uprated suspension systems, and unique design elements.
This higher grade would represent the maximum level of performance, dynamic capability and intelligent energy management offered by INFINITI. The Q60 Project Black S prototype is an investigation into the adoption of advanced dual-hybrid Formula One powertrain technology, with a performance bias.
From 2021, all new INFINITI models will feature electrified powertrains. Electrification is a natural progression for INFINITI, as a brand with technological and powertrain innovation at its heart. In future, the company’s vehicles will offer owners a range of advanced powertrains, including battery electric vehicles and unique e-POWER systems which deliver elevated performance and greater range confidence.
The Project Black S test-bed represents the latest development initiative by INFINITI to electrify its cars, and the new prototype follows a series of concept cars and design studies from INFINITI – the Prototype 9 (2017), Q Inspiration Concept (2018) and Prototype 10 (2018). Each of these is indicative of the brand’s path towards performance-oriented powertrain electrification.
With Prototypes 9 and 10, INFINITI created physical manifestations of its creative and ambitious plans for electrification. Revealing the potential for flexible platforms underpinning vehicles with advanced powertrains, both ‘Prototype’ models have benefited from greater freedom in design. What’s more, they have sought to reflect the thrilling, high-performance driving nature that will characterize future electrified vehicles from INFINITI.
Through the 2018 Q Inspiration Concept, the brand revealed a new INFINITI form language for a future of smarter, lower-emissions powertrains. As 2021 and the launch of INFINITI’s first electric vehicle approaches, the Project Black S engineering study proposes a route for technological innovations to deliver thrilling performance and intelligent energy management.